INDIANAPOLIS, DEC. 27 -- You can't buy Eric Dickerson jerseys here, but you can buy playoff tickets.

With a 24-6 victory over quarterback Vinny Testaverde and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, the Indianapolis Colts became the AFC's Eastern Division champions, their first playoff berth and first season above .500 in a decade. But the man who led them to the title, Dickerson, is still far from cult hero here.

Dickerson's so new in town, retail stores don't have his uniform number -- 29 -- in stock yet. Steve Alford, the former Indiana University basketball guard who's now with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, played a game here this week, didn't score a point and got a standing ovation. Dickerson, who scored twice and gained 196 yards on 33 carries today, got a sitting one.

Dickerson also has no endorsements here (Alford has $2 million worth), but he hasn't made a peep about it either. As the Colts were celebrating their victory, waving towels to get the record Hoosier Dome crowd of 60,468 off its hands, Dickerson sat alone on his helmet.

"I've had a rough year this year, and I was just sitting there thinking about what I've gone through," he said. "I'm just glad I'm here."

Traded from the Rams to the Colts for draft picks and still more draft picks on Oct. 30, Dickerson has become the final piece on a puzzling team. With an average quarterback (Jack Trudeau) and receivers you've never heard of (H-back Mark Boyer, wide receivers Matt Bouza and Bill Brooks), the offense is Dickerson and his line.

Today, Tampa Bay kept waiting for Dickerson to run wide, so he cut back inside behind Pro Bowl center Ray Donaldson and Pro Bowl guard Ron Solt. That's exactly how he scored his first touchdown, a six-yard run three minutes into the game, and also how he sprinted 34 yards for another score that made it 17-3 and put the game away late in the third quarter.

Dickerson needed only two yards to break the Colts' single-game rushing record (Norm Bulaich had 198 against the Jets in 1971), but Coach Ron Meyer had no idea and pulled him out of the game.

"If I'd put him in for one more play, and he'd gotten hurt on that play, the questions would be reversed in here," Meyer said in his postgame news conference.

"I'll get it someday," said Dickerson.

Dickerson also surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier (with 1,011), but said, "That means a lot, but I look higher than 1,000. I look to 1,500, 1,600. But with all the controversy this year, it was a good year."

The Buccaneers (4-11) were outgained, 572 to 232, and Testaverde, the 1986 Heisman Trophy winner, began one for nine and finished eight for 31 for 163 yards (no interceptions). Testaverde said he wasn't throwing with a lot of zip, but he had six balls dropped. His receivers, Solomon Miller and Gerald Carter, would run downfield and turn and wait for Testaverde's passes, instead of coming back toward them. That allowed Colts cornerbacks Eugene Daniel and Willie Tullis to make plays.

"It's hard to be a rookie in this league," Tullis said. "Hey, he's playing against guys like me."

It was Testaverde's first losing season since he was 7 and his little league team went 0-9. He was the starting tight end that year, and he says there were no reporters to deal with after the losses.

"This year, it was definitely different than I expected," Testaverde said. "The strike . . . the way I went about getting the starting position {playing behind Steve DeBerg 10 weeks into the season}. Just the way we lost. I think next year we'll be a whole different ball team. It'll be like night and day."

Ironically, the Colts and Buccaneers were the finalists in the Vinny Bowl last year, and the Buccaneers won out by being worse. It dawned on Testaverde today that he could've been a Colt.

"Sure, I could've been," he said. "But I'm here. I'm frustrated. They're going to the playoffs."

And who would have thought it when owner Robert Irsay moved the Colts here from Baltimore before the 1984-85 season? After the move, Irsay essentially handed the team to his son, Jim, whom Meyer nominated for executive of the year. Colts players wholeheartedly agreed.

"What turned this franchise around? I think the front office decided it wanted to win," said Donnell Thompson, a defensive end who began his seven-year career in Baltimore. "I think Bob Irsay decided he wanted to win. He went out and got a good coach, and he got his son involved. His son knows about football, see. When the person in charge knows about football, things seem to go better."

A year ago, the Colts were 3-13. They hadn't been to the playoffs since 1977, the year Ken Stabler and the Oakland Raiders beat Bert Jones and the Baltimore Colts in a playoff overtime, 37-31. The Colts are 9-6 now, but they won two during the strike, and somebody had to win the AFC East, where Pete Rozelle's wildest dream came true -- complete parity.

They will travel to either Denver or Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs, depending on the outcome of the Seattle-Houston wild-card game this weekend. Tampa Bay 3 0 0 3 6 Indianapolis 7 3 7 7 24 First Quarter

I -- Dickerson 6 run (Biasucci kick), 3:17

TB -- FG Igwebuike 38, 10:58 Second Quarter

I -- FG Biasucci 30, 14:52 Third Quarter

I -- Dickerson 34 run (Biasucci kick), 9:21 Fourth Quarter

TB -- FG Igwebuike 39, 3:11

I -- Bentley 2 run (Biasucci kick), 7:06

A -- 60,468.

Buccaneers Colts First downs 10 23 Rushes-yards 21-96 45-226 Passing yards 136 246 Return yards 33 10 Passing 8-32-1 17-27-0 Sacked-yards lost 3-27 0-0 Punts-average 5-42 7-38 Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-1 Penalties-yards 5-45 10-61 Time of possession 20:16

RUSHING -- Tampa Bay: Wilder 7-45, Smith 9-27, Testaverde 4-12, Howard 1-12. Indianapolis: Dickerson 33-196

PASSING -- Tampa Bay: Testaverde 8-31-0, 163 yards, Bartelo 0-1-1, 0. Indianapolis: Trudeau 17-27-0, 246.

RECEIVING -- Tampa Bay: Hill 3-96, Taylor 2-21, Miller 1-31, Smith 1-8, Wilder 1-7. Indianapolis: Brooks 5-

MISSED FIELD GOALS -- Tampa Bay: Igwebuike 37.